NOTICE: San Rafael Police are planning a DUI and driver’s license checkpoint for Friday, January 2nd in the evening hours. Under a new procedure, checkpoint locations will no longer be announced in advance.
Please visit the forums
for information about DUIs and how to deal with them in Marin County.
The place for information and help about getting a DUI in Marin county. There are over 1,300 DUI arrests in Marin County per year. In addition, the Marin County DA has made it a policy of being tough on DUIs and will almost never plea bargain a DUI offence down to a "wet reckless." This is in contrast to surrounding counties where there is a much greater chance of a plea bargain. The tradeoff is that for a "garden variety" DUI that you will most likely not have to do any Jail time (outside of the time immediately following arrest) and you will not have to do any community service. Unfortunately, though the fines and penalties can be quite stiff.
The Police agencies in Marin that are focused on DUI enforcement are: California Highway Patrol, Marin County Sheriff’s Department, College of Marin, Novato, Belvedere, Sausalito, San Anselmo, Fairfax, Twin Cities, Tiburon, Ross, Mill Valley and San Rafael.
The most common cities to get arrested for a DUI in Marin county have historically been Sausalito and Fairfax but review the chart below for some current stats.
What is a DUI?
Definition - DUI driving under the influence (of alcohol or drugs): often used as an official police abbreviation. In California that means a Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.
What happens after a DUI arrest?
At the time of arrest for a DUI, the arresting officer will take away your drivers license and unless a DMV administrative hearing is requested in 10 days your license will automatically be suspended.
Therefore you should immediately request an administrative hearing. There is nothing to lose by requesting a hearing, it gives you more options down the road. After your release from the Marin County Jail you will be given a sheet of paper that specifies when you must appear in court. Do not lose this piece of paper! Before this date you should consider your next big decision
The next big decisions to make is if you want to hire an attorney or not. On one hand the court and DMV process can be very intimidating and daunting and on the other hand is the cost of an attorney and the question of how much impact they can have on your case. An attorney is not going to make things any worse but in most circumstances so if money is no object go ahead an hire one to guide you through the process. If money is an object, it makes sense to learn as much as possible before hiring an attorney so that you can assess your need for an attorney and make an educated decision. As you can imagine it is very situationally dependent and it is probably worth at least speaking to a lawyer but they typically charge between $1,500 and $6,000 to work your case - and that does not usually include the cost of going to trial.
At your arraignment you will have enter a plea of guilty or not guilty and you will either proceed to trial or wait for sentencing.
When a driver's license is suspended for a DUI conviction and for the following typical three year probation period you will need to file proof of insurance with the DMV. The requirement is fulfilled by showing proof of insurance in the form of a SR-22. This is a Department of Motor Vehicle form (similar to SR-1). The only difference is the SR-1 is required when you have an accident or are ticketed for not having proof of insurance, the SR-22 is for DUI. Therefore, when you ask your insurance company for a SR-22 they know that it can only be for a DUI.
A first-offense DUI conviction will require the attendance at a 3, 6 or 9 month Drinking Driver Program usually depending on the BAC at arrest as well as additional circumstances. The 3, 6 and 9 month programs have a similar format - They meet once a week for two hours for the term of the program. The first 6 weeks of any length of program will be in an "education" format and the remainder of the time will be in a "group" format. The education format is usually comprised of an hour or so of watching a video followed by discussion of the video. Group discussion is purely discussion. If you are planning to plead guilty or non contest to a DUI charge you should really go ahead and enroll in the Drinking Driver Program as soon as possible because the sooner you complete the program the sooner you can get your regualr license back and you don't have to wait for the court to require you to go to get enrolled.
A DUI is a misdemeanor and like all criminal activity is on your permanent record. Nonetheless it is possible to have the DUI expunged from your record after the completion of probation (usually 3 years.) This can be completed by an attorney or you can find the forms yourself and petition the court yourself at minimal cost. Visit the "downloads" section to see a sample of the expungment documents that need to be filed with the Marin Superior Court.